Kobo Daishi and gunmonji-ho

Kobo Daishi and gunmonji-ho

Postby DrLang » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:18 am

I read that one of the first experiences that Kobo Daishi had in esoteric Buddhism practice was the gunmonji-ho which involved reciting the mantra of Kokuzo Bosatsu 1 million times. I had also read of a similar practice by Kakuban I believe based on Amida Nyorai if my recollection is correct. This had me wondering. In both cases it was estimated that these practices take about 100 days. During this time, one needs time to sleep, eat, and in the case of practicing alone as an aescetic, fetch and prepare food. So how does one go about these types of practices? Is the mantra recited continuously except for when sleeping or eating? Does the practicioner attempt to deprive themselves of as much sleep as possible? Or is there a prescribed daily schedule for practice?
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Re: Kobo Daishi and gunmonji-ho

Postby rory » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:47 am

Dr. Lang, cannot speak about Shingon but the report of Honen was that he chanted Amida's name 10,000 per day so that's the number if done for 100 days. I know from past personal practice I could do 1,000 repetitions in about 40 minutes so that gives you about 6-7 hours. I'm sure others will be more specific, but thought this might be helpful.
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Re: Kobo Daishi and gunmonji-ho

Postby DrLang » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:07 pm

rory wrote:Dr. Lang, cannot speak about Shingon but the report of Honen was that he chanted Amida's name 10,000 per day so that's the number if done for 100 days. I know from past personal practice I could do 1,000 repetitions in about 40 minutes so that gives you about 6-7 hours. I'm sure others will be more specific, but thought this might be helpful.
gassho
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6-7 hours would sound about right allowing adequate time to eat and sleep. Though the mantra for Kokuzo Bosatsu is quite a bit longer than Amida Nyorai's name, I think you would just need to push harder and could still get enough sleep especially if you had someone else preparing your food. I am still curious if there is a prescribed daily schedule or if you're supposed to just go for it.
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Re: Kobo Daishi and gunmonji-ho

Postby rory » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:58 am

Well Google books is your friend you can read about it in "The Life of Buddhism" eds. Frank Reynolds University of California Press, p. 102. Quite fascinating .
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Re: Kobo Daishi and gunmonji-ho

Postby eijo » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:23 am

DrLang wrote:6-7 hours would sound about right allowing adequate time to eat and sleep. Though the mantra for Kokuzo Bosatsu is quite a bit longer than Amida Nyorai's name, I think you would just need to push harder and could still get enough sleep especially if you had someone else preparing your food. I am still curious if there is a prescribed daily schedule or if you're supposed to just go for it.


About sixteen or more hours a day are required for the set period, usually 50 days, but also 100. Akasagarbha's mantra is recited one million times over that period. There is a formal sadhana followed that is practiced twice a day, the mantra recitation with mudras and visualization is imbedded in that. It is not just "going for it" by reciting the mantra on the bus or during whatever you are doing until you reach one million. There are a number of subsidiary practices to be followed daily. Food is not taken after noon, and as a rule you eat once a day. The food is typically a paste or gruel made of buckwheat flour, you prepare it yourself. You have no contact with the world during the period. Everything is done in isolation and only in certain remote mountain temples, you speak to no one and see no one. Food and sleep are kept to minimal survival levels.

You cannot attempt this potentially dangerous practice without a teacher, and you must have finished shido kegyo. This practice is secret. More than this information is beyond what may be discussed in public, already I have said too much and will say nothing further on this subject.

The mentioned book takes its information from Yamasaki's book Shingon, which is unfortunately mistranslated or mistakenly edited in too many places to rely on except for the most casual reading.
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Re: Kobo Daishi and gunmonji-ho

Postby DrLang » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:58 pm

Thank you Rev. Eijo. I have no intent to try this practice. I was just largely curious about the more practical matters of food and sleep. It is interesting that exactly 100 days seems to work out right for 1 million recitations.

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